Happy Diwali !

From Diwali 2009

Daddyhood II : The powerup sequence

I am sure everyone has wondered at one time or the other about the 'machine' called 'man' (or woman if you feel offended by the classical way of referring to humans).

I have.

I wonder about the complexity of the machine. The different parts that go up in making it. The co-ordination required. The development of each part which become a whole.

And now, with Vansh, I am seeing the development of a human being.

It reminds me of a powerup sequence of a very complex system. More complex than anything man made - like for instance - a nuclear plant.

You may have read about how each part of the plant under goes many tests in powering up.

It seems to be same case for humans also.

Sequence 1 : It started with the breathing aparatus - the lungs, windpipe and the vocal chords. As a new born baby, whenever it is awake - it cries a lot. I suppose its to get the lungs working. A few minutes of crying and then the fatigue sets in - and he sleeps. It does not matter that he is fed, and is warm. He has to have his hourly dose of crying - without which it does not fall asleep.

Along with this sequence is the digestive system coming online. At start only a liquid diet of mother's milk - which over the coming months will move to semi-solid and then eventually solid.

Sequence 2 : The eyes. At first unseeing - with each eye's control not fully functional. So, at times the kid will seem to be looking at his nose. Scary the first time you see it. Slowly the eyes start to look in the same general direction.

Sequence 3 : After the lungs sequence is ok'd by the body, the system shifts to other things - like moving the arms and legs. It learns to control the vocal chords so that he does not howl all the time - unless in discomfort - like when it wants to be fed.

Sequence 4 : The facial muscles come online now. The start with sequence 1 was frown and a screwed up face. Now the muscles start to strengthen the 'smile' and he starts to smile a bit, then a lot more. I am not sure if he understands what a smile is at this time - cause anything can trigger it. A touch on the cheek, a sound of a voice - or just simply smiling while lying on the back and kicking his legs.

Sequence 5 : The eye muscles having found that they are in sync, now start to follow people.

Wow ! They say life is a miracle - and its hard not to believe !

India's Achievements ?

Tomorrow is Independence day.

Once more people will get drunk it being a holiday - oh wait ... its on a Saturday. Damn! One holiday gone ! WTF !

I though am thinking on other lines.

Its been 60+ years now since India gained Independence. And I wonder.

I wonder how. I wonder why.

There are almost no world class achievements.

I can only think of one achievement which puts India on par with other world powers. The Delhi Metro. I see that and think - wow ! This is something which the people have done which we can proudly say we are shoulder to shoulder with other countries.

I am sure there are other achievements, but I can't think of any.

Achiements like a gold medal in the Olympics don't count - for a country so vast and with so much potential, a single gold medal is like a consolation prize. I am thinking more on the lines where can say 'hum kise se kum nahi' .

What are your thoughts ? What achievements can you think of ?

TFD : Patanjali

When you are inspired by some great purpose
Some ExtraOrdinary project
All your thought's break their bonds
Your mind transcends limitations
Your conciousness expands in every direction
And you find yourself in a new and wonderful world
Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive
And you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.

Cost of a Mac

So, someone was telling me the other day that if one wants to get a laptop of the same spec as a Mac, it would cost more.

Is that true ? I decided to check it out.

I decided to check it against the Alienware laptops from Dell. ( Alienware used to be a different company, but Dell aquired it a few years back. I guess they thought they would benifit from the reach of Dell).

Here I am not going to go on about the OS part of it. Just the hardware part. OS is a personal choice. If you like to let the OS do everything - its a Mac for you. If you want to configure everything - go and get Linux. If you want something in between - try Windows. Whatever.

This is a comparison purely for gaming rigs. I am looking at the cost vs specs of a high end gaming rig.

Macbook Pro Alienware (custom rig)
Cost : $2499 $2074
Screen : 17" 17"
Memory : 4 GB 4GB
Hard Disk : 500 GB 5400rpm500GB 7200rpm
Processor : 2.8 GH Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600
Keyboard : BacklitBacklit
OS : Mac OS X Windows Vista Home Premium 64
Colour : White Black
Graphics : 9600M GT (512MB) GTX250M (1GB)
Weight : 2.99kg not specified
Battery Life : 7 hrs not specified
Screen Size : 1920x1200 1440x900

Matching the specs of the apple , the Alienware rig comes out to be less costly !


So, finally my relatives heaved a sigh of relief. I became a daddy.

Its strange, relatives have an insatiable hunger for fiddling with other people's lives. First they hound you to death for getting married, then they keep asking .. "when will you become 3", and now that I finally have a kid, they want to know when is the 2nd one coming ! WTF ! People ! If you have messed with your life, don't go and mess with mine !

Anyways, rant over, back to the topic.

So, finally I became a dad. Kid is doing fine. a pic on facebook. People/Relatives decreeing that I should not be posting up more pics as they will catch the evil eye. gah !

Mixed emotions really. At first its unbelievable - not like 'it cant be happening' but more like 'has it really happened?' No matter how much people tell you about the 'miracle of life' you don't realize what they mean till it happens to you. So much for learning from history. I guess thats why we keep making the same mistakes ... we dont learn from others mistakes.. but I am digressing.

I was called in first to see the kid in the Infant ICU. He was sleeping peacefully on one side, legs crossed. took a pic to show to my in-laws as they were not allowed inside. Took another pic the next day which I uploaded on FB. Thanks for the wonderful comments folks ! :)

Wifey and baby got discharged after a couple of days at the office. She felt great coming back home. Hospitals kind of freak her out.

The next night was the 'i will keep you awake' night. The kid started crying at 3 am till about 7am. I had slept at 1am. Only 2 hrs sleep. Took to doctor as soon as we could. He checked and said everything is ok - just some gas.

Also he said that kids are usually active at night, and the patterns change after 2-3 months.


so, as of now, more sleepless nights. Getting to know the kid. Sometimes he frowns in his sleep. Sometimes he smiles , then wakes up, realizes he is not where he was dreaming, and starts to cry. sometimes he just wakes up, makes a slight sound - making us think he is getting up, and then calmly sleeps for another hour. sometimes we think he is sleeping when he gets up. Somehow he knows when we are getting ready to sleep, and he gets ready to wake up !

a new experience. its a 'wow' experience.

Different Perspectives

Today, while working on my laptop I realized that it is becoming more and more irritating to work with Windows. Its the simple things that get your goat. E.g. extra confirmations for everything (Windows Vista). Un-accessible software (e.g. visio drawings) which you cannot view till you have expensive software installed.

As a good regular twitter user I twitted this:
"At one time Windows was the easiest to use. Now it is a lesson in frustration."

The responses were quite interesting :
From a friend from darjeeling, who is a non-techie user of the PC :
"its still the easiest for me, coz i never had a chance to try the rest hehe! but lots of problems i agree"

From a friend who is quite into tech:
"for me its always frustration, most things r non-intuitive & when things dont work, its difficult to figure out why, no logs :|"
I think this quite goes to show that most of the users are not worried about the technical aspects of the software we use on a day to day basis. They are quite ok working with familiar software and yeah, some issues are there, but they take it in their stride.

The tech junta on the other hand, who work quite a lot with the softwares are tuned to the nuances of the stuff, and quite know what works and what doesn't. They are the ones who give the reviews about stuff which works and which doesn't. But does that really matter ? Cause most of the persons using the software are ok with what they have. Does it really matter to have intellectual discussions dissecting the software when the regular user is ok with it ? I still know people who are running windows 98 and are quite happy with it.

Just going to the ATM

Thats what I told my parents.

Thats what I did.

But took a slightly longer route.

And man, it felt so good !

at around 10pm, I had to go out to the ATM to get some money. You know us geeks, always empty pocket. I was to initially go with my sis and bro-in-law, but they got delayed. I did not want to take out the car. So, in the ultra warm air of the evening, I decided to use the natural evaporation of sweat to keep me cool, and started Tweety.

Rode to the ATM, in the nearby sector. Took out cash. Went to the paan stall and had a meetha paan. Enjoyed the sweet taste, and then took off in the direction opposite to home. Unfortunately, with parents at home, I could not afford to go on a long ride, so after some time of aimless riding, took a U turn, a pic and headed for home.

Aaah ! this feels nice, even though the weather was doing the utmost to slow roast it even without the Sun out.

Impersonation round 2

A year back I had written about some loser impersonating as me.

Well, he and his crones are back again. Here's mails that some of my friends have recieved.
From: Vibhu Rishi <rishi.vibhu@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 8:06 PM
Subject: BN is shutting down.

Yes guys, you read it right, we are shutting down. Will keep you all posted on future updates.
The email id is the dead giveaway. Its the wrong way round.

So, if you get a mail from this A*****E, ignore it. If you do reply , make sure that you change the reply to address to rishi.vibhu , as this loser has set the reply to address to my original id.

Howto install Bugzilla on Ubuntu 11.04

Update : 1st may 2011 : Updated the installation for Ubuntu 11.04 and Bugzilla 4.0

I was trying out bugzilla installation on Ubuntu. Although there is a bugzilla3 package I never was able to properly configure it. Today, decided to look at this issue again and googled for any HOWTOs. I got this sweet piece of setup at : Handyowner . There are some formatting issues which made me struggle a bit - so here is the reformated installation guide.

Ubuntu is already installed and configured on your target machine.
The machine is connected to the Internet you can browse the World Wide Web.
Here are the main steps:
  1. Install Per l(5.8.1 or above)
  2. Install MySQL
  3. Install Apache2
  4. Install Bugzilla 3.2
  5. Install Perl modules
  6. Bugzilla using apache
1. Perl
Verify if Perl is installed:

$ perl -v
If not installed :

$ sudo apt-get install perl
2. MySQL
Verify if MySQL is installed:

$ mysql --version
If not installed :

$ sudo apt-get install mysql-client mysql-server mysql-admin
Create “bugzilla” user with a strong password:
$ sudo useradd -d /home/bugzilla -m bugzilla
$ sudo passwd bugzilla
Tip! Here is what makes a password strong: make it lengthy, combine letters, numbers and symbols, use words and phrases that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess.
Create a database ‘bugzilla’ and grant privileges to ‘bugzilla’ database to ‘bugzilla’ user:

Tip! I usually set the bugzilla user password through the mysql admin interface ( Application -> Programming -> MySql Adminstrator).
$ mysql -u root -p
mysql> create database bugzilla;
mysql> show databases;
| Database |
| information_schema |
| bugzilla |

2 rows in set (0.00 sec)
mysql> grant all privileges on bugzilla.* to bugzilla@localhost;
3. Apache2
Verify if Apache is installed:

$ apache2 -v
You can also view in a web browser the default welcome page at http://localhost
If not installed :

$ sudo apt-get install apache2
4. Bugzilla 3.2.2
Download Bugzilla from the site “ http://www.bugzilla.org/”.
Tip! Download a stable release, unless (1) you would like to go bleeding edge, (2) you do not care about spending time with your girlfriend, your wife, your kids or your buddies, (3) your boss said so and you couldn’t say no.
Untar the downloaded file to your download folder

$sudo tar -xvf bugzilla-3.2.2.tar
Move bugzilla dirrectory to /usr/local/

$ sudo mv /download/bugzilla-3.2.2 /usr/local/
Make a symbolic link from /usr/local/bugzilla3.x to /var/www/bugzilla

$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/bugzilla3.x /var/www/bugzilla
5. Perl Modules
Bugzilla’s installation process is based on a script called checksetup.pl. The first thing it checks is whether you have appropriate versions of all the required Perl modules. The aim of this section is to pass this check.

Verify if Perl modules are installed

$:/usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2$ sudo ./checksetup.pl --check-modules
If not installed:

$:/usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2$ sudo perl -MCPAN -e install
Edit the ‘localconfig’ file

$:/usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2$ sudo gedit localconfig

Change the $db_name, $db_pass and $db_user value to the correct values. Here's how it looks like in my localconfig (replace the password with your actual password, this is just a placeholder here)

# The name of the database
$db_name = 'bugzilla';

# Who we connect to the database as.
$db_user = 'bugzilla';

# Enter your database password here.
$db_pass = 'bugzilla@123';

Run the checksetup.pl again. This will add a whole lot of tables for bugzilla, and you can verify that by looking at the tables in the 'bugzilla' database.

$:/usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2$ sudo ./checksetup.pl
6. Configure Apache2 for Bugzilla
Add the following directives to /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
$sudo gedit /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

*Note : Since the brackets give problem with blogger, added pic for the relevant code changes. All the non commented lines are what you have to type in.

7. Additional security
create user “apache2″

$ sudo useradd -d /home/apache2 -m apache2
$ sudo passwd apache2
Edit /etc/apache2/envvars to add. This is how my config looks
export APACHE_RUN_USER=apache2
export APACHE_RUN_GROUP=apache2
Note : The default user and group is www-data. I don't really know how to setup the export to use both the www-data and the apache2 user simultaneously. If anyone can help with the syntax, it will be great ! 

Edit /usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2/localconfig to add

$webservergroup = ‘apache2′;
Rerun checksetup.pl

$:/usr/local/bugzilla-3.2.2$ sudo ./checksetup.pl
This will ask you to setup your administrator for bugzilla. Go ahead and enter the password and email ids.

8. Check the Installation
Restart the apache server using the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Type the in your browser http://localhost/bugzilla/ . You should be getting the bugzilla login page. Login using the email and password you did at end of pt 7.

Commandline Twitter

Got this idea about seeing if I can make a command line app for Twitter. I just don't want the full fledged thing, just the basic latest updates. Since I am also interested in learning python ( call it a geek itch), I decided to take it as a sample app for my foray.

It took me about 1 hour from setting out to finding the library to use and to write the code, and put in some text beautification. Nothing fancy, but does the job.

for those interested the code is as follows :

import twitter
api = twitter.Api(username='username', password ='password')
statuses = api.GetFriendsTimeline()
for s in statuses:
print "%s \t: %s" % (s.user.name , s.text)

An IDEA can change ur Life ... But, a Girl Can change Ur IDEA

Heat is On : Fire Blooms

Just another day's drive to the office.. or was it ? Yesterday evening's rain had made the temperature bearable. Also, this time I was with my camera looking for an opportunity to take a pic.

Its not easy though.

The traffic is the slow stop and go types. There is no place where you can pull over and get out of the car without the cars piling up behind you and blaring their horns. At a traffic light ( I was trying a new route through RK Puram), I saw a flash of yellow. Took out the camera from my bag and took a couple of pics. The gulmohar trees ( I hope I have identified the tree correctly) bloom in the summers , painting the treelines in reds and yellows.

The Heat is On : Its a dogs life

I have got a lot of suggestions about the 'Heat is On' photography project I am doing. I am still to start taking around my camera for the pics, so all the shots till now are from the iPhone's camera - not too great quality. This weekend I was moving around , shifting to Dwarka, so did not get much pics.

Blazing Hot Evening

The sun setting on a very hot Delhi evening. Unfortunately the pic does not bring out the riot of colours that were painting the sky. And since I was in peak traffic times, I did not stop the car to take a pic from a good place. Next time for sure. :)

Glucose Drip for the Dog

On Saturday I had to go to the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Animal Hospital , taking the Dog along. He had not eaten for 2 days and was flopping around , hardly moving. Sunday morning, I took him to the hospital, and he was put on the glucose drip. After him a few more dogs were put on glucose.

The trees are now coming in colour, and I will try to get those pics. I also need to start travelling with my camera always in my bag, else I miss some neat shots.

The Heat is On

Its HOT.

Let me repeat that.

Its HOT. Really HOT. And its gonna get Hotter!

The screenshot shows the temperature today. The wind blows - hot. Its called लू (loo) in Hindi. It sucks you of energy, makes you want to find shelter out of the sun as soon as you can. The sweat dries off as soon as it forms, hardly giving any respite.

However, I have decided to figure out what can I do about it all. I am planning to start photographing the heat. What I want from you is ... give me your thoughts on what the heat brings to your mind. I will try to find those subjects and take pics and see how it goes.

Speed of Infection

I was just going through the news of Swine Flue. 2 things struck me
1. how the hell did it go from the pig to the man ?
2. The tag of Pandemic given to it.

pt 2 set me thinking. A few centuries back this would not even be a point of fear. Some place halfway across the world has a flu outbreak. When Ashoka was an emperor in India, Mexico was not even on the world map. So that place has an outbreak, its contained in that village , probably a couple of more, and people die. The rest of the world does not even know that they existed.

Fast forward to the 20th century, and information is going around in newpaper print. People get to know that some people died in a far away land. Shrug, talk about how bad it was, and go about their world.

Enter the 'flight' age and then the 'information technology' age. People travel across the world at the drop of a hat. Information is now spreading through casual networks like facebook and twitter. People get to know of a happening even before it happens. ... err... read that as when it happens. No more waiting for DD news or the morning's paper. You get to know it in office... AajTak and other 'sansani' channels pick it up - usually with a video from youtube and have people who don't even know what they are talking about proclaim we are in danger. Add to it , people who are travelling, catch a virus and before the day is out bring it to another country , and it spreads out there.

Scary scenario.

Is it happening or is the media irresponsible in shouting that it is happening ?? How can the death of 150 people be labeled a pandemic ?

Why Indians have to be reborn !

The angel Gabriel came to the Lord and said 'I have to talk to you. We have some Indians up here in heaven and they are causing problems. They're swinging on the pearly gates, my horn is missing, they are wearing Dolce and Gabana saris instead of their white robes, they are riding Mercedes and BMW's instead of the chariots, and they're selling their halos to people for discounted prices. They refuse to keep the stairway to Heaven clear, since they keep c rouching down midway eating samosas and drinking chai (tea).. Some of them are even walking around with just one wing!' 

The Lord said, 'Indians are Indians. Heaven is home to all my children. If you want to know about real problems, give Satan a call.' 

Satan answered the phone, 'Hello? Damn, hold on a minute.' Satan returned to the phone, 'OK I'm back. What can I do for you?' 

Gabriel replied, 'I just wanted to know what kind of problems you're having down there.' 

Satan says, 'Hold on again. I need to check on something.' 

After about 5 minutes Satan returns to the phone and said, 'I'm back. Now what was the question?' 

Gabriel said, 'What kind of problems are you having down there?' 

Satan says, 'Man I don't believe this ... Hold on.'

This time Satan was gone at least 15 minutes. He returned and said, "I'm sorry Gabriel, I can't talk right now... These Indians  are trying to install air conditioning and making hell a comfortable place to live in by putting out the fire...fire is there to keep them uncomfortably hot!! Since they are so tech savvy, they were trying to start a telephone connection between heaven and hell...I am having such a hard time controlling and dealing with them!! Some were trying to start a chai - pakora shop, which I had to stop...I am requesting Lord to send them back on earth as soon as they arrive as re-birth".
Indians will be Indians... 

So this is the story why Indians are re-born!!!!!!!

Delhi, A Trip and a New Job

So, here I find myself finally, back in the hometown of Delhi ... Delhi NCR to be more correct as the office is located in Noida.

Moving to Delhi was a different experience. I usually associated Delhi with pollution and bad traffic. It still has that, but the pollution seems to be lesser than what would be there in Pune in peak hours. The amount of vehicles on the road is mind boggling !

My first impression of Delhi was ... "hmm.. pleasant weather" , especially coming from the sweltering heat of Pune. The second one was "mmm. Good Food ! " !!

Trip to Dehradun

I still had a few days left in hand before joining the Job, so I decided on a quick journey home to Dehradun. This time I decided to go in the car, rather than in the train as everyone was suggested.

The route is not enjoyable for a drive. I think that the next time onwards I will be going by Train. Most of the road is a single land with mad truck drivers. Many times I had to slow down and almost get off to the road shoulder to avoid trucker/busses overtaking other vehicles.

A stop on the way.

But once you reach roorkie, the road becomes good. It is fun to drive through ! Then , once you get to UttaraKhand , the roads become even better ! The last few kms are through the Shivalik ranges and skirt the outside of the Rajaji National Park - absolutely fun !

Lapwings in the field behind our house

Mom and Dad with the Car

Roads just out of Dehradun - Paradise !

I just stayed a day in Dehradun, and then headed back. This time I took the canal route. This is a seldom used road, so the traffic is quite less, and it runs alogside the ganga canal from Haridwar to MuradNagar so you basically cut out all the Heavy Vehicle traffic. However, when I was doing the drive, many parts of the road were in bad condition, and at many places, the construction of the brick railings were in progress. Furthermore, at many points this road crosses other roads - basically bridges across the canal, and just before and after these junctions, there are unmarked bumps - which you have to be careful about. Apart from these irritations, this is quite a cool route.

The Canal Road

On 6th I joined a new company. The company is in the mobile VAS ( Value Added Services) space. I was surprised to see around 15 people joining with me ! In the days of economic slowdown, the VAS industry is doing quite good ! I also had this feeling that we Indians don't have a Product mentatlity , as most of the software we use is from companies from elsewhere around the world - but this company proved me wrong. Many of the VAS products are being used by the big operators in India ( Airtel, Idea , etc ). The work seems to be quite exciting ! !

The office space is also designed in a very open manner. The managers share the same space as all the developers , and the cube (if it can be called that) height is half - so you can see from one end of the floor to the other. Advantages and Disadvantages abound - as you can easily see the length and breadth of the floor, but at the same time, it becomes noisy. Now, it is quite the same as what Wipro was, but I have been spoilt in the last few years of working in individual cubes - so that it feels quite noisy to me ! However, its a thing about getting used to , and I think that in a few weeks, i will not even be realising the noise ( the body is an amazing machine!)

What I really liked in the first few days of work is that there is a lot of Enery and Enthusiasm in the people here. There are hardly any whiteboards here, so the glass walls that are the walls for the few discussion rooms are used for writing. Pretty cool usage if you ask me . Also, there is no hard and fast rule of what to use and what not to use - e.g. I am using Linux as my standard OS on my laptop and a few other people are using Macs etc. Nice.

Now, for the new few weeks my concentration is going to be on work and finding a house. So forgive me if I do not update here more often !

iPhone view for Google Reader

I don't really like the cluttered interface of Google Reader

I always had problems reading RSS feeds using the Google Reader. If you use the default scroll, it marks as read the items that you were just scrolling through, and if you change the settings, you have to manually click the items that you have read to be 'mark as read'. I don't know who designed the UI, but it sucks. 

On the other hand , the interface on the iPhone is pretty good. I realized I was reading more on the iPhone than on the desktop. Hmm.. 

What people don't tell you is that it is doable on the PC also ! All you have to do is use the correct URL for the google reader and presto, it shows the blog items as though you were on the iPhone ! Now this is comfortable for me ! 

The URL you have to use is : 

Neat and minimalistic interface of the Google Reader in iPhone view.

Have Fun ! 

How to setup Dual Screens

The screenshot that started it all

My post on facebook about my extended desktop got a lot of people interested, and they want to know how to setup the same with their systems. So, here's how !

This is in 2 parts. Howto do it with a laptop, and how to do it on the desktop.

HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Laptop

Dual monitor display up!
My first attempt at dual monitors

This is the comparatively easier approach, and one probably you can try out first. Simple steps to follow are as follows :
  • Connect the monitor cable to the laptop ( the blue port ... it should either be on the sides, or on the back of the laptop.
  • On your windows desktop ( XP here as I have not used Vista on laptops) , right click and click on 'properties'.
  • Go to the 'settings' tab. It should show your current laptop screen, and another monitor greyed out.
  • Click on the greyed out monitor, and click on 'extend desktop to this monitor' . Make sure that the resolution is set to something your laptop's graphics card can support and the monitor can support.
  • Click 'Apply' and that should do the trick!
Upside : 0 cost if you already have a laptop and a monitor lying around.

2. HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Desktop.

Ok. This requires quite a bit of more work. This can again be achieved in two ways.

2.1 Using a graphics expansion module.

A maxtor graphics splitter

Companies like Maxtor provide you hardware which you attach to your comp and it then connect to the monitors. The upside is that you don't have to get fancy graphics card. The downside, not so much available in India.

Steps :
  • Buy the hardware
  • Install drivers and follow the instructions.

2.2 Using a Graphics card.

Nvidia Graphics card with 2 DVI output ports

This is how I use it. I am a game buff, so I needed a good graphics card. Now, what most people don't tell you is that the graphics cards come with 2 DVI ports ! Woot ! So, you can connect the monitors to each of the graphics output. The advantage - crystal clear graphics at high frame rates !

Steps :
  • Install the graphics card ( in my case the NVIDIA 8800GT )
  • Connect both the monitors and start up the system. At this stage only one monitor will actually display the output.
  • Install the Nvidia software (you should download the latest from the net, as the ones available in the CDs are quite oudated).
  • Go to the nvidia control center and enable dual screen.
  • Viola ! You are done !
Linux steps :
  • These steps are a bit unintuitive. So, you need to do a bit of mumbo jumbo ( if you dont like command line) or just a bit of command typing (if you are comfortable with command line).
  • First boot into linux if you are on dual boot. The default drivers on linux suck, so you need to download the ones provided by nvidia.
  • run the command 'sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings' from a terminal. Let it install.
  • Run the command 'sudo nvidia-settings' and save your configuration.
And thats it ! you are done.

Twin Monitor Setup
My current setup running linux.

You may want to refer to some of my earlier posts and other links :

How to raise the DPS for a Hunter

I was actually looking all over the place for this simple question that I had on the Hunter in World of Warcraft - and I got no straight answer. Finally through a lot of hit and trial and reading a lot of mumbo jumbo, I got some results. From a dps ( Damage Per Second) of 1300 I was able to go upto 1700 ! Woot ! So, this is a short writeup for those people who are in the same boat as me. 

Since I am at present staying at my in-laws house, I am playing on a rather low end machine - I get around 30fps at minimum settings ( /sigh ) . It also has a wierd keyboard ( HCL Office 8500 ) and for some reason I am not able to get screenshots to help in this guide. Anyways here goes. 

Once you hit level 80 - the max level in WoW, the options open up to you for Heroic Dungeons and Raids . These enable you to vanquish tougher bosses and get some nice loot , apart from the Badges of Heroism. However, as a DPS unit ( Hunter, Warlock, Mage , cat/moonkin druid, rogue, Enh/Ele shaman, Fury Warrior etc), your role in the group is to burn down the Boss fast. That means that you need to do massive amounts of damage. Therein lies the problem. Up till now, you have been working hard at levelling your character , and things like increasing dps was not something that you have worked on really. So, suddenly you are doing a Dungeon run, and while others show a 2000+ dps, you are stuck at around 1000dps. How embarrasing. And you have no idea what to do. 

I am in the same boat. And I hope my experiments help you to. Keep in mind, I am a n00b raider - and it will show :)

The first thing was that after multiple wipes at EoE , and having dps lower than even the Tank, I started to look at how to do up my DPS. Off I went to IronForge ( if you are Horde, go to Orig or any city) and started to work on the target dummies to check how much is my dps. As the mana bar depleted , the values shown in Recount was approx 1300 ( which reads - just below 1300). Not bad, but not good either. 

The first thing I did after this was to change my spec from a BeastMaster hunter to a Survival Hunter. I used the spec which BigRedKitty uses. 

2nd round at the dummies. Woah ! Crossed the 1500 barrier - just about . 

Next I headed over to Elitist Jerks. These guys do a lot of number crunching on almost each class and spec and try to figure out whats the best way to go forward. Also I did an audit on my character using  Be Imba , a website which checks your gear and tells you the most common things missing. In my case it is the jewels missing from a few sockets , and enchants. Looked up EJ for what gems I needed. Spent a small fortune at the Auction House and got all the sockets gemmed , including the socket created using an Eternal Belt Buckle ( which adds a socket to the belt item - I did not even knew this happened !) . Also a quick trip to Dalaran and I exchanged the badges I had got by running UK and Nexus for a Hand slot item ( I had 61 badges! ) . 

Back to IF. change in shot rotation. Started killing the target dummy. 

Woah ! Spiked to 1900 before averaging out at 1700 dps ! 

A 400 dps jump in a Day ! Wonderful. 

Decided to jump in and test it with a heroic. Today's daily was HoL and pugged it with other guys. Sure we had a couple of wipes, but in the end, got Loken with 2 achievements under the belt : 
Ooh. That is a big confidence booster. However, I somehow did not get the 1700dps I got while testing :( 

Next on the agenda, farm some money to enchant all the items that are enchantable ! 

7 Phenomenal Wonders of the Natural World

I got this as a forward. Some amazing stuff this ! 

The classical natural wonders are huge and hard to miss - vast canyons, giant mountains and the like. Many of the most fantastic natural phenomena, however, are also least easy to spot. Some are incredibly rare while others are located in hard-to-reach parts of the planet. From moving rocks to mammatus clouds and red tides to fire rainbows, here are seven of the most spectacular phenomenal wonders of the natural world.

1) Sailing Stones
The mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of Death Valley have been a center of scientific controversy for decades. Rocks weighing up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of yards at a time. Some scientists have proposed that a combination of strong winds and surface ice account for these movements. However, this theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side by side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions. Moreover, the physics calculations do not fully support this theory as wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some of the stones.

2) Columnar Basalt
When a thick lava flow cools it contracts vertically but cracks perpendicular to its directional flow with remarkable geometric regularity - in most cases forming a regular grid of remarkable hexagonal extrusions that almost appear to be made by man. One of the most famous such examples is the Giant's Causeway on the coast of Ireland (shown above) though the largest and most widely recognized would be Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Basalt also forms different but equally fascinating ways when eruptions are exposed to air or water.

3) Blue Holes

Blue holes are giant and sudden drops in underwater elevation that get their name from the dark and foreboding blue tone they exhibit when viewed from above in relationship to surrounding waters. They can be hundreds of feet deep and while divers are able to explore some of them they are largely devoid of oxygen that would support sea life due to poor water circulation - leaving them eerily empty. Some blue holes, however, contain ancient fossil remains that have been discovered, preserved in their depths.

4) Red Tides
Red tides are also known as algal blooms - sudden influxes of massive amounts of colored single-cell algae that can convert entire areas of an ocean or beach into a blood red color. While some of these can be relatively harmless, others can be harbingers of deadly toxins that cause the deaths of fish, birds and marine mammals. In some cases, even humans have been harmed by red tides though no human exposure are known to have been fatal. While they can be fatal, the constituent phytoplankton in ride tides are not harmful in small numbers.

5) Ice Circles

While many see these apparently perfect ice circles as worthy of conspiracy theorizing, scientists generally accept that they are formed by eddies in the water that spin a sizable piece of ice in a circular motion. As a result of this rotation, other pieces of ice and flotsam wear relatively evenly at the edges of the ice until it slowly forms into an essentially ideal circle. Ice circles have been seen with diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters and groups at different sizes as shown above.

6) Mammatus Clouds

True to their ominous appearance, mammatus clouds are often harbingers of a coming storm or other extreme weather system. Typically composed primarily of ice, they can extend for hundreds of miles in each direction and individual formations can remain visibly static for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. While they may appear foreboding they are merely the messengers - appearing around, before or even after severe weather.

7) Fire Rainbows
A circum horizontal fire rainbow arc occurs at a rare confluence of right time and right place for the sun and certain clouds. Crystals within the clouds refract light into the various visible waves of the spectrum but only if they are arrayed correctly relative to the ground below. Due to the rarity with which all of these events happen in conjunction with one another, there are relatively few remarkable photos of this phenomenon.

Twouble with Twitters

Found this amusing clip about Twitter ! :D

Farewell Ride with Pune BN

Last weekend was probably my last ride with the Pune BikeNomads. I am relocating to Delhi/NCR and this called for a ride.

Initially the plan was to ride to Murud as we had a couple of friends of Jolu who were going to do some documentary shoot with us, but they got held up with their college work. At the same time, a friend and I were discussing about going to Ahmednagar to meet H as his dad had passed away. So, late of Saturday evening, the plan was finalized. We called up all the people who were to come on the Murud ride and told them about the change in plans. Some people were to come from Mumbai also, so we had to apologize to them and explain the reason. I would say it was something I influenced, as I felt that we should visit a nomad to show out solidarily and support, and cause I knew that I would not be meeting H again. Added to that was the attraction of visiting the Tank Museum - a one of the kind place in India, which is based out of Ahmednagar.

Sunday morning the plan was set - meet up at AdLabs Kalyani Nagar at 7:30am. I reached there and only Amit was there before me. It seems that S & N told everyone else that we were to be meeting at 8, while they told me to be there at 7:30. Nasty. :(

Waited and people started turning in. Finally we were short only N. He was getting late and said he would catch up with us on the 5 ( R15). So, around 8 we left. 7 bikes + 1 pillion.

Its a nice sight to see so many bikes on the road following formation riding rules. However, due to heavy traffic and also because the road was mostly single laned, it was difficult to maintain it for long. Within a few mins we got split. I was the tail, but the one in front of me was a bit slow, so I moved on ahead and caught up with the main body of the riders. At the 2nd toll gate, which is at Ranjan Gaon, we had a puncture. It was Jolu Warrior's bike which went flat as soon as it crossed the gate.

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

Asked around and we found a puncture shop just before the gate . I guess it is not coincidence that most of the punctures happen in the viscinity of puncture shops ! The tyre tube's valve had a cut also - and the chap only had splendor's tyre tube. While a couple of guys went to look for a more fitting tyre tube, we had our first cup of tea in the morning. While having tea we got a call from N, he had crossed the tool gate, and had gone ahead. We asked him to turn back and try to get tyre for the rear wheel of the Karizma. Finally after a lot of calls between J, S and N we got a tyre tube - which was not for the zma, but finally giving up the hunt for the time being lost, we settled for this. Around 1.5 hours were lost in this.

It was almost 11am now, and we still hadn't had any breakfast. so we decided to stop for breakfast .. but S & A were ripping ahead and went on ahead. Called up S and told him to turn back to the BP petrolpump for the breakfast stop. Along with them also came PS , whom these guys had seen up ahaed. So, there we were 10 bikes in all !

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

The next bit was uneventful. The road becomes progressively worse with some road narrowing work in progress ! We reached Ahmednagar around 12:15 and PS was in the lead as he had been to H's house earlier. By his estimation we were still some 30kms away, when he suddenly pulled up at a gate saying we had arrived ! ;) Talk about distance estimations ! lol !

All of us parked up outside H's house where a prominent board displayed "no parking for boys" !

Had tea and general gupshup and timepass. H's Uncle also joined us. He used to be a bike fanatic in the heydays and regaled us with stories of his bike and how he took away the door of a car once ! One comment which would not go out of my mind was when he ashed whose bike the blue one was, and then the subsequent comment " mere ko maloom tha woh kise chickney ke hogi ! " ;-)

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

The next stop was the Tank museum but it being almost 2:30 we had to have lunch first. Around 4 we reached the tank museum which had on display the tanks of yesteryears and the wars. Did you know Roll's royce also made armoured cars ? It was an eye opener with the different tanks on display.

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

5:30 we moved out and said goodbye to H, but it was almost 6 by the time we left Ahmednagar as there was a politician bigwig giving a speech to a crowd bought for the purpose. After sometime the guys stopped for a 'ciggy break' , but i decided to move on. I am not as fast a rider now, and wanted to put in as much distance as possible before dusk. Stopped for a shot of the windmills and then moved on again. I really need to get a waist pouch for my camera as its a time waster having to stop, take off my bag, take out the camera case, take out the camera etc etc.

As darkness crept up , we stopped for tea, and decided to follow formation for the rest of the ride. However, again due to the night and traffic we managed to get split up after 15mins. I was getting left behind, and with no markings on the road, it was difficult for me to find any guiding signs to go fast. After sometime, reached ranjan gaon, and with the road becoming better and the road marking reappearing, I started moving faster. Latched onto an alto which was going fast and followed it for some distance and then it suddenly slowed like the person driving it got terrified of doing the high speeds. Luckily there was a Scorpio who was going fast, and I started to follow it.

At Shikrapur we grouped up as PS ( who was leading with his allpoweful HID) was splitting up for Mumbai. The only person missing was S, and we called him up. He was riding the last, and he though that I was still behind him. Little did he know that though I don't enjoy night riding, I have a few tricks up my sleeves to still go fast ;)

After this the road became quite crowded with the traffic suddenly increasing, like everyone had just woken up and suddenly came onto the road ! I was following Jolu now , and we finally arrived at the dispersal point - Dass at Kalyani Nagar. C then took our group pics with auto shoot mode, with experimentation using various motorcycles as the base :) . Finally satisfied , we split up, but hardly had I gone 100mts that I had to stop. Some politician was going to the airport and the police had blocked the roads :( .

Reached home at 9:15pm, 256kms done. Not a very long or fast trip, but quite memorable.

What is Recession?

An amusing anecdote that came via email. Enzoy!

This story is about a man who once upon a time was selling Hotdogs by the roadside. He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio. His eyes were weak, so he never watched television. But enthusiastically, he sold lots of hotdogs.

He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales. His sales and profit went up. He ordered more a more raw material and buns and sold more. He recruited more supporting staff to serve more customers. He started offering home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove. As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from college, joined his father.

Then something strange happened.

The son asked, "Dad, aren't you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?" The father replied, "No, but tell me about it." The son said, "The international situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse. We should be prepared for the coming bad times."

The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV. He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly. So the next day onwards, the father cut down the his raw material order and buns, took down the colorful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic. He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his Hotdog stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly and so did the profit. The father said to his son, "Son, you were right". "We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time."

Moral of the Story: It's all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think.

Dev D : my thoughts

Yesterday night, a friend and I went off to see DevD. S was planning to come along, but at the last moment she opted out as she was not if she would enjoy the movie.

DevD is a different kind of movie. It can be also called 'wierd' as it is not the usual Bollywood fare - boy , girl, dance etc kinds of movie. Its based on the story of Devdas - immortalized in Indian cinema. But with twists adapted to the current life of the young and rich and spoilt. Well, thats all been blogged/written about. My thoughts are different.

I had been listening to the songs of the film "Emotional Atyachar" etc etc. I wanted to see how they fit in... and it was beyond my expectation. The songs has been wowen into the picture at different points. The songs repeat depending on the situation. The positioning of the songs change depending on what the protagonist is doing. E.g. in one scene when Dev is walking, the song fills up the screen, but then he turns into a street and the song fades to one side , as if it was being played in some music system in some home. Another one is when he dunks his head into water, and the songs/ambient sounds becomes muffled like when you hear something under the water.

The cameramanship is also awesome. The scene where he is drinking, the camera revolves around him. At the start of the drinking binge you can make out the shapes around him, but they soon become blurry as he drinks more and more... Visual represntation of the person's mind.

This is not a movie to be watched at home unless you have a good movie station at home with surround 5.1 systems. Go to the theatre to watch it before it gets taken down.

My Rating : "Must Watch! But probably without people who like mushy movies"

Good Morning Pune!

Good Morning Pune!
Originally uploaded by vibhu

Got up early today in preparation for a small ride tomorrow to Mulshi. The nomads from BN are to meet up at CC at 6am , and move off at 6:30am. I am a late riser, and so to get into the rhythm, I got up today at 6am ! Got out of bed at 6:30 ofcourse ;)

From the balcony of my house, with a warm cup of water in my hand, I was seeing the sun rise, thinking its been so long since I have seen it. The air felt fresh and tingling with a slight chill. Dumbo, i said to myself, get your camera and take a pic ! So, thats what I did.

With construction on in most parts of pune, there was no escape from the scaffolding on the apartment blocks, or the wires strung in between. But the distant hills bathed in a slight haze, and the sun warming up the morning sky, it gave a particular feel to the place. A feel of Pune.

Good Technology brought over by Visto

Good Technology was one of the companies that I worked with during my last 10 years as a techie.

And it was the best time I have had working ... worked there twice.

The first time was when I was working in Ruksun. That time they were my clients.

The 2nd time was when I worked as a full-time employee of theirs. Good Technology was also the single biggest factor for my leaving Microsoft after just a few months. GTG rocks ! I never felt that I was working there. It was more about having fun and a passion working with the other people, working on new tech, working on beating RIM's hold on mobile messaging systems.

However, like most start-ups, things change. It was first bought by Motorola almost 2 years back ( and I was there during the transition) . Now, Motorola has sold it to Visto [press release]. And the most amazing thing that I feel all throughout the transitions is that Good retained its Identity. The power of the brand was so much that whichever company bought it, retained the Good logo.

The experiences in Good Technology will always remain with me. Some of the best people I worked with. Some of the coolest technology I worked with. Some of the coolest devices I got hooked onto. Being part of the entire group/company in a way its not possible in most places. And most of all, the fun I had doing what I was doing.

Anil Kapoor Watch

Got this as a fwd from a friend who got it from another friend ! I had also been wondering what Anil Kapoor was doing... but not to this detail !

I may or may not have told some of you over the weekend about the Kapoor-watch that Anil and me have been doing over the last couple of weeks. He has been a major source of comedy and cringe-worthiness in equal measure through his appearances on American TV and clueless interviews. Yesterday was the crescendo, obviously. Here is a choice collection for you to enjoy.

A few excerpts from various articles!
  • Steven Spielberg announced that Slumdog Millionaire had won Best Picture last night, did you happen to notice which hilarious Bollywood egotist was the first one to the stage? Of course it was serial podium rusher Anil Kapoor! Once Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson arrived at the microphone, they had to motion for the film's cast members to follow them — but not Anil, because, somehow, incredibly, like a pompadoured bolt of lightning, faster than a poop-covered slumdog, he had already made it out of his seat and up the stairs. How did he do it? Did he bodysurf over the first ten rows? Had he just been hiding under the podium the entire night? - NY Mag
  • Millionaire's eight-Oscar haul has got Anil Kapoor (pictured with Danny Boyle) , the Bollywood star who plays the movie's oleaginous quizmaster, thinking about an alternative career. Egged on by two of the biggest names in the business, Sir David Frost and US talkshow giant Larry King, the 50-year old actor says he's considering taking up full-time TV presenting."I've been encouraged by Larry King and David Frost," he told the Independent. "Both said my television presenting skills were second-to-none. When such icons of the form give you a compliment like that you simply cannot ignore it. David said I could go on to be one of the great television hosts of our time so it is something I'm seriously looking into." He adds. "Perhaps I could front my own show here. I'll rule nothing out."
  • Anil adds that more than him, it was a proud moment for all Indians. "Today, I wasn't thinking about myself or from my point of view. It was like an Indian award and I was thinking of India winning – not me. It was an Indian moment. I could see Indian faces around me. I wasn't floating on air, India was!"
  • It's time to stop the petty bickering and small-minded behavior amongst us in the film industry. There are only a few films like Ben Hur and Gone With The Wind which can come on the same level as Slumdog. Slumdog is the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. Everyone, all over the world, loved the film. We all got a standing ovation from the entire audience at the Oscars. It was one of India's proudest moment of glory."
  • "I felt so proud when I came out and was greeted by my old friends Goldie Hawn and Will Smith who came to congratulate the Slumdog team and me. They both were like "apna bachcha jeet gaya". Rahman, Danny, we are all together. I was so thrilled!"
  • And what is it in your case?
    I feel it is the role. It's an integral part of the story. And it's a very performance oriented role. It has lots of layers. And critics from The Washington Post, NY Times, London Times and others have singled me out for a mention. I don't think people have ever seen an actor play a host. A lot of people asked Danny (Boyle) if I was the host of the show back home.
  • How has your family reacted to the success of slumdog?
    My family teases me about it. They keep telling me, 'Control, control.' They rag me and say, 'Stop giving all the these interviews now. Enough!' My wife says, 'You are coming out of everybody's ears. For heaven's sake, stop! Wherever you go, London, US, LA, you're just doing interviews.' I tell her, 'What can I do? Rahman is impossible to get. Toh ghoom phir ke main hi aa jaata hoon." Maybe I should also try to play hard-to-get now. But I like to be myself. And I have been told the foreign press appreciates that I am myself. When I am happy and excited, I show it. More than the success of Slumdog, they are thrilled with how I behave and how I speak.
  • Slumdog resurrected you literally...
    Maybe the exposure, and opportunities, are more now. Maybe a thousand more people know me. But, yes, it’s a nice feeling when people in the aircraft and airport come up and shake hands. After Barack Obama’s win, there’s a strong ‘loving underdog’ sentiment sweeping the world. And Slumdog is also about the win of the underdog.
  • Have you decided which Oscar you will go up to collect?
    At the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, we had to follow a protocol. The cast was asked to go onstage. I being the seniormost amongst the actors, held fort and spoke. This time, too, we will follow protocol. I don’t know the situation yet. Whatever role is given to me, I will take.
  • At the Screen Actors Guild Awards you touched Anthony Hopkins’s feet onstage and got introduced to Angelina Jolie through Irrfan Khan. How did they react?
    Sir Anthony, I later thought, must have got the scare of his life! He didn’t understand why I suddenly bent down to touch his feet. He must have thought I would pull his leg! I explained the ritual to him later and he smiled. Angelina was sweet.

And from earlier on this season,

  • “Kapore” strides out in a suit and light-colored tie like he’s got tickets to the gun show…and by that I mean that he’s doing the “I am victorious!”-arm-thing. He immediately growls something like, “Hey!” and proceeds to grope Regis via a bear hug which lifts Reeg off the ground. Let me type that again: Anil Kapoor has just bear-hugged Regis, whose feet are dangling in the air. Wait! It gets better! Kapoor is now spinning him around, as his co-host, Kelly Ripa, cackles gleefully and claps like a seal. Regis, who is shaken, then grabs Kelly, growls at her and spins HER around, and by doing so imitates Kapoor while reclaiming some of his threatened manhood. Or something. Kapoor is delighted at what he done started. Regis turns back to shake Kapoor’s hand and Kelly steps up to air-kiss him on both cheeks. They settle in to the most awkward-looking chairs/stools on daytime television.“OH BOY!”, Regis exclaims. Kelly points out that Regis is going to “suffer tomorrow, just so you know” for his foolish act of hugging and spinning-bravado.
  • Regis compliments AK about Slumdog, “you played it so beautifully”. Anil returns the favor by smarmily telling Reeg that Reeg reminds him of someone…ah, yes. Dean Martin. Regis is concomitantly flabbergasted and as giddy as Kelly, who immediately asks, “Aneeel, who told you to say that to him!” AK then says “Ve Indians never lie!” They cut to a clip from the movie. Anil claps for himself enthusiastically, but at least he doesn’t clap like a seal. Kelly tells AK that Reeg saw the movie before she did and later told her that it was the best movie he had EVER seen. Yowza. They discuss how he’s having the time of his life on awards shows and how he’s the toast of hollywood; when asked where he had dinner this weekend, AK exults, “Dustin Hoffman’s house!! What a host! WHAT! A! HOST!”
  • "Slumdog Millionaire" star Anil Kapoor exits his New York hotel and does his best to please every paparazzo with a picture. Followed by his own, personal videographer, Anil stopped for the New York photographers before climbing into a town car for a trip to his next meeting. Unfortunately, the Bollywood superstar climbed into the wrong vehicle and had to make an embarrassing exit! - http://www.thenewsroom.com/details/3627118

Oscar Fever ! 8 Oscars !

I am backstage. The presenter has an attack of nerves and is crying. A lady (indian) makes up her mind and moves to the stage, and says "Sorry for this , we have had a change in plans". The audience boos. The stage ? The 81st Oscars.

The dream breaks. I get up and look at the clock . 7am ! Just in time for the Oscars...

Wife was sleeping . Had to keep the volume really low. And lo and behold what a run for Slumdog Millionaire ! 10 Nominations. 8 Academy Awards ! Double Oscars for A.R. Rehman !

The list of awards:
  1. Best Movie : Slumdog Millionaire
  2. Best Director : Danny Boyle
  3. Best Music Song : AR Rehman for Jai Ho
  4. Best Music Score : A.R. Rehman.
  5. Best Editing : Chris Dickens
  6. Best Sound Mixing : Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  7. Best Cinematography : Anthony Dod Mantle
  8. Best Adapted Screenplay : Simon Beaufoy
Phew !

It's more amazing cause you know that the movie is based on Amchi Mumbai, with the crew and cast of people from India.

Now, all the above has been already talked about by everyone, and all websites are covering it - oscars.com, TOI, CNN, BBC - you name it , and they are rattling out the figures and the accomplishments. But, I have a few more thoughts...

The message of the film - reel and real.

The movie is about a small time guy, in love, dreaming always, and making it in the end. The 'hope' that keeps one going.

The movie is also about a small rag-tag crew, with a small budget, working with passion and love and dedication, working together as a team, making the unbelievable happen. I am sure none of the guys would have even thought at the start that they are going to one day be part of history.

I thought such things existed only in movies. But here I see a live example. Here is one of the things that I have read in books .. even like the Bhagwat Gita... not really believed in it - but it has happened. Phal ki chinta mat karo, karm karo. Do not wish for rewards, just do you job. I never did believe in that. Without an end goal, how am I to work with the passion and towards a goal ? I always thought i needed that . But many places people say that if you really put your heart into it, you will achieve your dreams.

And here I see that. And I am getting convinced, that one has to just work their best without thinking of the end gains. Difficult to change the programming in your mind for many years, but I think that the seed has been sown.

The 'its indian' syndrome.

No, the movie is not Indian. Its a British film with Indian actors and part of the crew. It was released in the US in August 2008. The Indians did not freaking even consider it. Its only when it started to gain international fame that we Indians started to look at it. Its only when it started to get rewards that it was released in India in end Jan 2009. And now that it is winning awards, the media in India touts it as an Indian film.

Dudes in India, the govt and others, I have a question for you. Why do you only pick up stuff related to India after it makes an international splash ? Why did distributors in India not pick up Slumdog Millionaire for shows here after it was released worldwide ? Why do we suddenly want to claim people of Indian origin as Indians after they have lost hope in the Indian system, moved to a foreign country and make some inventions ? Why do we suddenly find Yoga and Mehendi (Henna) the 'in thing' after the west starts to tout them ?

India. Wakey Wakey. I believe we are letting too many opportunities, inventions and innovations go waste because of the society we have created. We need to promote and nurture talent here. Then , when we start winning on the global scale , we can say we have truly arrived !

For the people with hopes and dreams (including me!). Think about the reel and real life stories for Slumdog Millionaire. Think AR Rehman. Be passionate and love what you are doing. Don't just look for quick results. You will succeed.

Jai Ho !

What Sena ?

Recently there has been an explosion of groups in India with either 'Sena' or 'Ram' or both in their name.

And I think they are a disgrace to the legend that was Rama.

Well, what do we know about Lord Rama ? The first thing that comes to mind, and the first thing that we are taught as kids is 'Dharma', which means the virtuous path. Another thing about Rama that comes to the forefront was how he followed the path of non-violence, unless in self-defense or the defense of the others. He also corssed the length of the country to wage war on Ravana, but even there , he had sent out a peace treaty first.

From wikipedia :
Rama is always shown with a bow (called Kodanda) on his shoulder. As per Valmiki Ramayana, Sita once enquired as to why her Lord, Rama always carried a bow with him. Sita was upset with Rama's promise to sages that he offer protection while they performed their sacrificial rituals and therefore petitioned Rama that 'We are in the forest and we should live life of sages so why wield this weapon?'. Sita then narrated a story about an ancient sage who became violent simply by having a weapon in his possession (in this case a sword). Rama smiled and promised to Sita that he would never attack anybody unless the other person provokes him to do so, a promise that he kept throughout his life. In fact he had always given two chances to his enemies Tataka, Maarich, Vali and even Ravana. He even offered a peace treaty to Ravana before starting the war. Angada took his peace message to Ravana which was declined.
Persecution of women was not his passtime.

The only place in Indian Mythology that I remember reading about anything against women is the vastraharan of Draupadi by the Kauravs. I think that todays political parties who indulge in such passtimes should be named Kaurav Sena.

One of the usual refrains that these people have is that they are the custodians of Indian Culture. What a hoot ! Which culture are they talking about ? A few hundred years back when India was under colonial rule and the culture was about sati, child sacrifices etc ? Or more years back when India was under the rule of the Emperors Shah Jahan and created the Wonder that is Taj. Or even a few years back under the rule of Akbar when the grand trunk road was made ? Or earlier depictions on the walls of temples of India with nude and semi-nude people ?

If they are so worried about culture and going back in time, about the negative influence of "western culture", then why do they use the inventions from the west ? Dear xyz sena, do not use the inventions from the west. Here are a few.
  • All the people in the video are wearing jeans/trousers and T-shirts. Go and wear traditional indian dresses. Why don't you do that ? Don't you know Jeans, Tshirts are from the west ?
  • Don't use electricity at home. Yup, thats also from the west. No louspeakers, TV, radio as they were invented in the west and use electricity.
  • Don't use a phone or a mobile phone. Oh boy , how can you do that ? thats also from the west.
  • Don't use cars, motorcycles etc. These are also from the west.
  • Don't use posters as they are printed with technology from the west.
  • Don't use any allopathic medicine as they are also invented in the west.
  • Don't use computers.
  • Oh ! dont use the internet also. I mean that's also from the west.
There's been a lot of outrage, but the government seems to be totally lacking in decision making, or maybe they are taking decisions, as this is the election season, to not do anything.

The high handedness from these self proclaimed culture custodians has resulted in some people taking up innovating ideas. I came across this totally novel concept of Pink Chaddis !
At some level, this all hurts me. This is not the India I grew up with. This is not the India that I read about in books when I was young. This India is a place where we are afraid, not only about cross-border terrorists, but also about terrorists who don the garb of the culture police.

TFD : If you really hate what you're doing

If you really hate what you're doing, stop telling yourself to hang in there. Your first duty is to yourself. These are hours of your life. Spend them happily.

Lunar Eclipse

Did you know yesterday evening was a lunar eclipse. However, its not a complete eclipse, but a penumbral one, where the softer shadow of earth falls on the moon as the moon is too far away.

Moon with partial eclipse

TFD : In the company of great people

Today, I came across one of the best quotes I have ever heard.
In the company of great people, the journey is its own reward.
This is such a profound quote that for a few minutes I was stuck speechless ! Hope you find it good too !

TFD : Dance Like

Quite a fav quote of mine. Filched from a friend's signature.
Dance like no one is watching
Love like you'll never be hurt
Sing like no one is listening
Live like it's heaven on earth
Work like you don't need the money

LOTRO Finally

Oops ! I missed something ! Dumb ! Dumb ! Dumb ! Apologies to LOTRO devs.

My earlier post about LOTRO was way off the mark ... and the amazing part is that I found the problem and managed to fix it myself ! 

/cheshire cat grin
/pats back
/looks suitably amazed at my own amazicity ! 

Well, here was the peroblemo hombre... 

The .NET did not install. 

Yup. You got that right. .NET 1.1 does not install on Vista directly. Viva le Microsoft ! 

erm. But then one wonders why 1.1 is not available properly on Vista, and also one wonders why developers are not using .NET3.5 - the latest and .. errr.. greatest (?) .NET framework out there. 

Anyhows, the following was the error I was getting while installing .NET ... 

Duh. Amazingly precise and helpful ( /sarcasm) message from the devs on what is happening. 

Fortunately, Google is finally working ok today, so gave a search for the error ... and viola, got a great link for it. 
Essentially the steps are as follows ... 
  1. Download .NET 1.1
  2. Download .NET 1.1 SP1 <-- this fixes the install problem, but unhelpfully not bundled as a stand alone installer. 
  3. Put both of them in a common directory (e.g. c:/dotnet)
  4. Start a command prompt as Administrator (rt click on the cmd prompt icon. no sudo here you dumbo!)
  5. Mumble a few voodoo words and run the following commands... esentially the commands make a single installer from the 2 you downloaded above. 
  • c:\dotnet>dotnetfx.exe /c:"msiexec.exe /a netfx.msi TARGETDIR=C:\DotNet
  • c:\dotnet>dotnetfxsp1.exe /Xp:C:\DotNet\netfxsp.msp
  • c:\dotnet>msiexec.exe /a c:\DotNet\netfx.msi /p c:\DotNet\netfxsp.msp

Huzzah ! Ze magik Werks ! 


WTF ! Maintainence ! 

Finally is not Finally enough... 

Wait for more demented updates ...